10 ways to fail successfully

The title of this post is a bit of an irony, but despite conventional thought, there are many ways to successfully fail.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 14 years old. I’ve failed countless times over those years and I still fail today. I used to erase the failures from my memory but then I began to realize that was an even bigger mistake.

Failures happen for a reason. Failure weeds out those who NEED it; be it a goal or success, from those who just WANT it.

Failing successfully takes a lot of work, time, and self-discipline. Here are 10 ways to do it, broken down into 3 major categories.

Using your failures

1. Use failure to connect with people

Failure is something that unites us all. Don’t be afraid to make your mistakes and failures public. When you do, also make public the lessons you’ve learned.

You’d be surprised as to how much better you can connect with clients, readers, friends, and even the very successful. Portraying an image of being perfect is what puts people off.

2. Failure, then success makes for a good story

The media is always interested in rags to riches, underdog, and redemption stories. Again, share your story and the lessons you learned in pitches you may give to reporters and writers. This isn’t for everyone, but for bloggers, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, and writers, this can set you apart.

It might help you get in a magazine, on TV, or heck, maybe even on the silver screen.

3. Learn

This is probably the simplest and most common item on the list. If you don’t fail you aren’t learning and you aren’t even living.

Failures can teach you:

- About yourself, including strengths and weaknesses

- About others

- What you like and don’t like

- Lessons that can’t be taught in any school

4. Teach others

Write a book, blog, become a mentor, or actually become a teacher. Sure, people have to make mistakes on their own, but they can learn a lot from yours as well.

Not accepting your failures

5. Reevaluate why you failed

Lack of focus, too many priorities, not enough passion; there’s plenty of reasons why you could of failed.

Take a few moments, look over your plan, and ask yourself:

- Did I not give myself enough time?

- Did I LOVE, not just like, what I was doing?

- Did I let others stop me?

- Did I let my fears stop me?

6. Readjust your plan

People always say “never give up.” But how do you not give up when things aren’t working right? Simple, you readjust your plan.

The main goal or end result you desire to achieve shouldn’t change, but your approach should if it’s not working.

Here are some aspects of your plan you can readjust:

- Time frames – You might want to give yourself more time. Or if you put your goal so far down the road, say 5 years, that you aren’t taking daily steps to get there, then give yourself less time.

- Amounts – Do you really need to make a billion dollars? Sometimes we want so much, when we only need much less.

- Steps – Don’t forget the baby steps. They’re often more important than the major ones.

7. Take a break

Sometimes that is all you need. A few months break from persistent action towards a goal. Take the time to brainstorm and re-motivate yourself, then jump back in.

Denying it was failure

Hmm… Who thought denial was good?

8. Change the word

Remove “failure” from your vocabulary and replace it with something else like “hiccup” or “lesson.”

9. Consider it a step

If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then “failure” doesn’t exist. It’s really a step towards success.

10. Make failure not an option

Have you ever considered putting it ALL on the line so that it becomes such a desperate situation that you deny failure as an option?

Once you begin to understand that failure isn’t that bad, then you begin to take more risks and ultimately you will achieve your goals. That’s the ultimate way of failing successfully.

What are some other ways to fail successfully? If you know of any, please share in the comments below. We’d all love to read them.

Related articles:

- How to graduate the School of Hard Knocks with a 4.0

- The art of getting off your ass

Photo by The Happy Robot
Success | January 9th, 2009 | Written by Andrew Galasetti